Francis Ngannou remains hopeful of agreeing a boxing fight with Tyson Fury after the heavyweight world champion's latest call-out.
Ngannou and Fury have verbally agreed to compete in a mixed-rules fight with the Cameroon star keen to try his hand in the boxing ring. The 'Gypsy King' previously called for a clash between the pair, but it was not previously possible with the former UFC champion tied down to a deal with the promotion.
However 'The Predator' is now a free agent after deciding to turn his back on the UFC when his contract expired, and is eyeing a number of lucrative bouts in the squared circle. At the weekend, Fury decided to ramp up talk of a potential showdown again by making a new offer. He told Seconds Out: "Francis Ngannou, I know you’re out of contract with the UFC.
"You want to earn some big boy money? Come see the Gypsy King and let’s do a big, big fight for the baddest mother f***er on the planet. Let’s kick it up spicy, in a cage, four-ounce gloves under Queensbury [rules] and let’s have a bad*** referee like ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson. Did I just sell that to the world?"
Ngannou seems ready to accept the terms that have been proposed but has pointed out that social media talk is irrelevant until official talks begin. "The next step could be that but, once again, everything has to be finalised," Ngannou told Canal Afrique when responding to Fury's offer.
"Let me remind you that Tyson Fury and I have been warming up on social media for more than two years. Obviously we all need this fight. It’s been long enough. Hopefully we have the possibility of dotting the i’s."
Who wins if the pair meet in a mixed-rules bout - Tyson Fury or Francis Ngannou? Let us know in the comments section below
Fury previously proposed the pair meet this year in a mixed-rules bout in Las Vegas, but it is likely a fight will be unable to take place this year. The WBC champion will be focused on his ring exploits with his next test set to be for the undisputed titles against Oleksandr Usyk, before he could welcome mandatory challenges against Joe Joyce and Deontay Wilder.
Ngannou himself has received multiple offers including in bare-knuckle boxing, while promoter Kalle Sauerland revealed he could also compete in influencer label Misfits. However the 36-year-old believes he can compete in traditional boxing and has also called out Anthony Joshua. "I want to fight the top guys in boxing," he told the MMA Hour. "I don't know.
"I think Fury has retired and come back. I don't know where Fury is right now, but now it is time. Before, we could not do anything concrete beyond the social media stuff. Whatever it is, if it is with Tyson Fury, I will take it. I have no problem doing boxing with 4oz gloves, we will figure it out. Tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua would be my first ideal opponent."